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Nerd Costume Ideas: How to Make a Homemade Nerd Costume

Updated on December 16, 2014

Your One-Stop Nerd Shop

I heard you wanted nerd costume ideas to satisfy your hunger for an awesome outfit this year, fellow Earthling. That's excellent, because I've got some nifty ones right here waiting for you! Jeepers, isn't that swell?

As far as qualifications go, well, I was on the Math Team and in the Chess Club for eight years. I hope that's enough to establish my "nerd cred!"

To all you nerd-lovers out there ready to get up in arms: yes, this costume involves stereotypes, but that's what costumes are all about!

And if you want to explore the other end of the spectrum, check out my Punk Costume site.

Images from this site are also on Flickr.

Making Nerd Glasses - Popping Out the Lenses

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Glasses bought for $2 at Goodwill. Time to modify: 5 minutes.Place on a cloth to cushion, and apply pressure to lens.If that doesn't work, use a screwdriver or awl on the lens edge.Got it! Glasses with a collection of tools.Both lenses out.
Glasses bought for $2 at Goodwill. Time to modify: 5 minutes.
Glasses bought for $2 at Goodwill. Time to modify: 5 minutes.
Place on a cloth to cushion, and apply pressure to lens.
Place on a cloth to cushion, and apply pressure to lens.
If that doesn't work, use a screwdriver or awl on the lens edge.
If that doesn't work, use a screwdriver or awl on the lens edge.
Got it! Glasses with a collection of tools.
Got it! Glasses with a collection of tools.
Both lenses out.
Both lenses out.

Time to modify: 5 minutes.

  1. Buy a pair of cheap glasses at a thrift store or drug store. I got mine for $2 at Goodwill.
  2. If you have a mini screwdriver, you can use this to loosen or remove the little screws keeping the lenses in place.
  3. Heating the glasses with a blowdrier or warm (not boiling!) water can also loosen the lenses.
  4. If that doesn't work, use a screwdriver or awl on the lens edge to pry out the lenses.

Pro tip: To truly make these glasses scream "Nerd!" just like a gaggle of high school bullies from the 80's, hell-bent on making life miserable for anyone not in the cool kid clique, you need to add the good ol' tape, a la "a jock broke my glasses and I took it upon myself to fix them." Masking tape, duct tape, scotch tape - the tape world is your oyster. This is how you express your nerd personality!

The Nerd Costume Tie: Clip-On Is Best

I found this cute little clip-on tie at Goodwill for about $3. It's a little plain for a nerd tie, but I think it works with the rest of the costume.

Alternately, you can use a bow tie or even a regular tie. If you can find a particularly goofy or obnoxious tie, even better.

It's worth noting, however, that a nerd will not always wear a neck ornament: see Revenge of the Nerds for an example. It all depends on what kind of a nerd look you're going for; let your logical mind assess the best possible tie configuration.

Dogs also look good in clip-on ties.

Had to take a break for some serious cuteness. The most adorable little nerd ever!
Had to take a break for some serious cuteness. The most adorable little nerd ever!

The Nerd Costume Shirt

A short or long-sleeved button-down shirt works best.
A short or long-sleeved button-down shirt works best.

The stereotypical nerd (whom we see in movies, often sporting a pocket protector sprouting out of a shirt pocket) usually wears a button-down shirt. It helps to set him (or her) apart from the regular masses in their tees and polos.

I was lucky enough to have a white button-down in my closet (although, unfortunately, I didn't own a shirt with pockets). If you don't have an appropriate button-down shirt, preferably one with a loud pattern, you can easily find one at your local thrift store. Make sure to button your shirt all the way to the top (another hallmark of nerd style!).

The Nerd Costume Pants, Socks, and Shoes

The Nerd Costume Pants, Socks, and Shoes

It's important to get something epic for the nerd costume pants. Again, loud patterns that you wouldn't usually wear are good, and again, you'll probably have no problem finding these kinds of pants at your local thrift store. You can also just wear khaki pants, but don't forget to make sure they're SHORT! Pants that hit at or above the ankle are a signature nerd calling card. The reasons for this are unclear - perhaps there's a correlation between intelligence and height? Or perhaps nerds can't find pants that fit because they're too busy studying quantum physics? If you need to, you can always roll up or pin the pants to make them appear shorter.

A quick note about belts: if you're wearing your pants high, you might need to get a new belt for this costume, as often your waist is a different size than your hips. Suspenders are also a great way to complete the look, especially brightly colored or patterned ones.

Socks and shoes should contrast. If you're going to wear dark leather shoes, make sure you wear bright white socks. And if you're wearing white tennis shoes, dark socks are the ticket. Of course, socks with designs on them work too, especially if you can find some really nerdy ones!

Video Inspiration

A Full Geek Costume - For Buying or For Ideas

Adult Class Nerd Costume Size: Adult Standard Size
Adult Class Nerd Costume Size: Adult Standard Size

This pre-made nerd costume has got it all: glasses, suspenders, pants, and guy with a goofy expression on his face. Of course, it's probably best to assemble the individual items yourself, but a costume like this can give you some ideas!

 

The Final Result. You, Too, Can Look Like This!

I might still tweak it a bit. I think that I could at least find a nerdier shirt, and maybe shorten the pants a bit. Some extra accessories you might want to add if you feel inspired:

  • Pocket protector (the ultimate nerd item!)
  • A sweater vest or cardigan for costume warmth and maximum nerdiness
  • A textbook or notebook and pen
  • If you're a girl, try some nerd hairstyles: pigtails, braids, or a ponytail.
  • If you plan to carry a bag, go for a backpack or simple messenger bag. Remember: function over style.
  • A love of learning and a nerdy attitude!

And remember the most important thing: have fun!

Who Is the Reigning Nerd? - Vote Here!

The best nerd ever is...

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Got Your Own Nerd Halloween Costume Ideas? - Share Them Here!

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    • lilymom24 profile image

      lilymom24 6 years ago

      I'm too late for Halloween but I love the glasses and the dog wearing the tie is just too cute. Also wanted to thank you for blessing one of my lenses. I tried to leave you a message on your bio page but was not able to. Thanks again. =)

    • kislanyk profile image

      Marika 6 years ago from Cyprus

      Just saw this one on the front page and had to look! Awesome costume ideas for nerds!

    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 6 years ago from WNY

      Great tips! I am totally a nerd anyway. :)

    • MacPharlain profile image

      MacPharlain 6 years ago

      NERD!!! Fun lens and good costume tips.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      hahaha..this is really an interesting, informative and funny all at the same time!

    • kjbranch77 profile image

      kjbranch77 6 years ago

      haha Awesome lens!

    • Rantsand profile image

      Rantsand 6 years ago

      LOL great lens, I was a nerd once....wait, I still am !

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      You nailed it, Nerd Lady.

    • profile image

      CatJGB 6 years ago

      Ah, this is too cool! I'll use these ideas next time I have to dress up in costume. My hubby is into d'n'd so we could both go as nerds! Hahahahaha!

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 6 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Oh yes, my closet has plenty of nerd costume opportunities!

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 6 years ago

      Enjoyed the lens. Very funny. Now I know I won't even have to change clothes for Halloween :)

    • profile image

      iwrite4cash 6 years ago

      Fantastic lens, it was a very enjoyable read indeed!

    • zimbali2011 profile image

      zimbali2011 6 years ago

      LOL! enjoyed it :) great lens

    • ikari1976 profile image

      ikari1976 6 years ago

      hahaha awesome pic!!!

    • KANEsUgAr profile image

      KANEsUgAr 6 years ago

      never occurred to me to dress like a nerd. such cute ideas, i love it!

    • profile image

      sojourner-1 6 years ago

      Great nerd lens. It's always the glasses that seems to complete a nerd outfit.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      nice job! way to go dressing up as a nerd for the whole world to see, you'd make a great nerd too (this means I liked it), keep up the good work on all your lens, love running into them.

    • profile image

      cash37 6 years ago

      Love the nerd glasses!

    • Mclure2 profile image

      Mclure2 6 years ago

      Best nerd is bill gates

    • elyria profile image

      elyria 6 years ago

      So fun and so easy to make, love your Lens! The doggie looks pretty cute too :)

    • fefe42 profile image

      fefe42 6 years ago

      Wow, you've got a great costume there! I voted for Steve Urkel but I also really like Bill from Freaks and Geeks...he's the funniest nerd ever. *blessed*

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 6 years ago from Havre de Grace

      Fun lens! Love the dog with the tie!

    • Wendy Leanne profile image

      Wendy Leanne 6 years ago from Texas

      Awesome lens. Loved it.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 6 years ago

      This is a great costume idea!

    • Chris-H LM profile image

      Chris-H LM 6 years ago

      Nerds rule! Pocket protectors are a must although I must say I prefer a bow tie or a bolo (Tex-mex nerd) :P

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      Sheesh, Emma. I had those exact safety glasses in junior high. Complete with scratched lenses and tape - for real. I'm still a geeky nerd, but I'm a grandma now so it's cool.

    • howards522 profile image

      howards522 6 years ago

      The only thing missing is the pencil holder that goes in the shirt pocket! Great Lens!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I think I was a nerd 50 years ago, before the word was even invented, and now my grandchildren are carrying on the tradition, what with World of Warcraft (WoW to the cognoscenti) and studying pure Maths (Math if you're American, but I challenge that) at Uni.

      I would certainly dress as myself, were I to indulge in Halloween, as opposed to merely distributing sweeties to trick-or-treat pests.

      Here are some Angel Blessings

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      A great nerd outfit. Those are perfect creds, too, for having authority on the right costume. :-)

    • FitVision profile image

      FitVision 6 years ago

      Some great ideas here. And an entertaining read! Thanks :)

    • donaldwilson profile image

      Don Wilson 6 years ago from Yakima, WA

      Cool! I can just dress up as myself.

    • emmaklarkins profile image
      Author

      emmaklarkins 6 years ago

      @ErHawkns7100: I agree! Except it would be hard because, like you say, nerds aren't the underdogs anymore!

    • profile image

      ErHawkns7100 6 years ago

      It's time to remake Revenge of the Nerds. Nerds will always be popular, we rule the world!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Amazing, how nerdy you look..